Former Ballarat Miners assistant coach and Youth Miners head coach Ryan McKew is making inroads in the mental health field with Basketball Victoria.
A former assistant coach with Victoria Country, the 23-year-old has switched lanes, initiating a new role as State Wellbeing and Engagement coach. This will involve working with all the state teams in each age group.
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His first major task will be to work with the under-16's at the upcoming national championships in Perth, from July 4-11.
McKew saidit was an important step to take for the benefit of these athletes and coaches with mental health seen as such a priority for athletes.
"It's something that I wanted for a long time. I think the experience that I've had coaching at a state level has been really vital," he said.
"I have first hand experience of what the players and the coaches will go through in the high performance year, especially when nationals hits.
"We're talking about such young kids and sometimes coaches who are coaching their state for the first time. There's so much anxiety and pressure that goes into these sort of events.
"To have somebody that can just be on hand, go through mindfulness techniques, go through breathing exercises, be there and be involved in the day-by-day process (is important)."
Basketball Victoria High Performance head coach Nathan Cooper-Brown said the area has been a focus.
"Having someone create a mental wellbeing and performance support network around our high-performance pathway teams ... has been high on our priority list at Basketball Victoria," he said.
"It's been sensational being able to bring Ryan into this new role.
"Ryan brings the perfect blend of attention to detail, passion and professionalism ... but most importantly he has an unrivalled care for our kids and staffs welfare, and the success of our programs/teams."
Following nationals, McKew will work with all other state teams in different age groups, balancing the position with his Youth Mental Health Clinician role at Uniting Ballarat.
Basketball Victoria has also announced its 'Innovate' Reconciliation Action Plan 2021-23 which was developed in consultation with Basketball Victoria's RAP Working Group and leaders including Nova Peris OAM (DHHS), Rob Hyatt (Koorie Heritage Trust) and Karen Milward (consultant).
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